Indian health workers kill 1000s of chickens to contain bird flu

Health workers slaughtered thousands of chickens for a third day Friday to curb the spread of bird flu in eastern India, as poultry fell ill and died in new areas in the region. Nearly 3,000 birds were found dead on Thursday in the Murshidabad district, which adjoins parts of India's West Bengal state where bird flu was confirmed earlier in the week, said Anisur Rahman, the state's animal husbandry minister. Officials had not yet confirmed whether the new deaths in Murshidabad were from bird flu. An outbreak of the disease in nearby districts of Birbhum and Dinajpur has killed more than 50,000 birds, and officials were trying to determine whether the illness was spreading while culling poultry in affected areas in attempts to contain it. Health workers slaughtered 15,000 birds in the region on Thursday and planned to kill another 25,000 birds on Friday, Rahman said. They planned to cull 400,000 birds in the coming two weeks, he said.